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Can I reclaim my deceased mother's real estate after a questionable quitclaim to my sister?

White Hall, AR |

During a divorce, my mother quitclaimed her house to my sister but gave herself a lifetime estate. My sister then broke her verbal agreement to care for mom. Mom passed away and now my sister has taken ownership and is selling the house. There was a vague and incorrect legal description on the quitclaim that gave my sister the property. Now I am being asked by a title company to sign a new quitclaim (with correct legal description) relinquishing all my property rights to my sister. It appears that my signature is holding up the closing of this property.

Also important, is that I have text messages from mom claiming that she was cheated and under the influence of medications while signing the quitclaim.

Could either of these factors be enough to revoke the original quitclaim?

Attorney Answers 4

Posted

An invalid legal description is enough to make the quitclaim void. If the consideration were not spelled out in written form (sister gets the house for taking care of mom) it will be hard to prove that was the intent, and even so it may be hard to prove that your sister did not reasonably do her part.

You are in a position of power, and you can work out a deal with your sister to get a fair share of the property settlement or else kill the deal. If you do kill the deal you will need to act to get the original deed invalidated and assert your rights into the property.

You should see an attorney, and generally speaking, even if you did not get a full 50% of the property proceeds, it may be in your best interest to work with her to allow the sale. If you guys are fighting it may be hard to come to an agreement and get anything at all out of the property, and if the court orders a sale, it may sell for significantly less than the current buyer is willing to pay. I would assume that your sister did do some things for your mother and that those things did have some value, and perhaps she is entitled to more than 50% of the proceeds.

You will likely need to sign agreements with the title company and realtor for their commissions and fees.

Every legal matter is fact specific, and there are often nuances in every case. This is intended for comment only, and does not create an attorney client relationship.

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Posted

Thanks very much. We spoke with a local real estate attorney who thinks that the obvious intent of the quitclaim would trump the legal description error on it in court so we have decided to pursue partial proceeds from the house sale through direct negotiations with my sister while there is a potential buyer waiting.

Posted

It sounds to me that you should run not walk to consult with an experienced real estate or probate attorney in the county where the real property is located. These circumstances would warrant a more in-depth consideration than is available to you on an online forum.
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Disclaimer: California attorney Robert Miller has practiced for over 45 years and restricts his practice to real estate and probate matters in the Central District of Los Angeles. Any opinion expressed is for general informational purposes only, no attorney-client relationship is intended or created by this answer, and no action or inaction should be contemplated without first employing and consulting with a competent attorney convenient to the questioner.

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Posted

You definitely have a lot going on here and should consult and attorney before signing anything. If the quitclaim deed is invalid then you may have some leverage to demand payment of some consideration in return for the relinquishment of your interest. If the deed was declared invalid then it may pass under her will which you could use in your argument to get compensation from your sister - but you should call an attorney in your location.

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Look for an attorney on the Find a Lawyer tool here on Avvo to find a probate and real estate attorney in your are immediately

The information provided in this answer does not create an attorney-client relationship and is not considered to be legal advice.

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